Wow. That game against Peterborough seems like a really long time ago. Thankfully, the snow has now gone and we’re back in business against Hull.
They’re a team that we should really beat quite comfortably. Without Bullard to push them on, they really struggle at this level and their side is further weakened by Cousin and Olofinjana being away on international duty, while Altidore is on compassionate leave following the disaster in Haiti.
Unfortunately you can never back this Tottenham team to win easily without someone coming up to you and bellowing ‘Stoke and Wolves’ in your face. The Stoke defeat I maintain was a freak result, when we had countless chances to score, but against Wolves we had no answer against their stubborn resistance and created little.
The difference against Hull is that they do not seem like a side cut out to defend and restrict our chances. Only Wigan have a worse goal difference and we all know why that is. Since keeping a clean sheet against Blackburn (one of only three this season), they have conceded 12 goals in 4 games. Though we have had a couple of poor home results, I think we are entitled to back ourselves against a side that we beat 5-1 away from home earlier this season.
Another reason to think that Hull will be unable to ‘pull a Wolves’ on us, is the fact that Luka Modric is back in the side. With him dictating our play, we should always create chances. The absence of Lennon means that we will again have the opportunity of seeing Modric playing alongside his international teammate Niko Kranjcar.
King is doubtful for the game, but even if he is fit, there’s a good chance that Harry would have earmarked the midweek game against Liverpool for him. I’d expect then that Bassong will partner Dawson, with Bale again deputising for the injured Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
With Lennon out the midfield picks itself and the remaining conundrum is who we will play up front. Harry is bound to do some swapping around during the next few fixtures, but here’s hoping that Defoe remains in the team throughout. I can’t envisage the Crouch and Keane combination ever working and if we must see that partnership over the next few games, let it be against Leeds next weekend.
In recent games our defence have proved to be as tight as our forward line has been prolific. If we keep a fifth (league) clean sheet in a row, it will equal our Premier League record.
Speaking of statistics, Hull are without a win in 6 games and have gone 15 away games without a win or clean sheet. We’re the type of team that when we get our noses in front, tend to flood with confidence and play to our full potential. Let’s hope to see an early goal before the jitters kick in.
This is the first of what will be 5 games in 14 days. It’s a test of our mental resolve, as well as the depth of our squad and we must start with a win.